Great post.Back in my paramedic days, I was a field PTSD counselor. One of the most important things to remember, is there are no "wrong" feelings when it comes to dealing with issues like this. If you're angry, or depressed, or indifferent, what ever you feel, is how you feel.
I will say, be careful about "medicating" with alcohol. It may seem like the easy thing to do, but high stress occupations, ones that deal with PTSD issues on a regular basis like cops and paramedics, have higher than normal alcoholism rates. You don't want to start down that road.
Don't be afraid of your feelings, or finding someone to talk to. Like some have said, maybe it's a coworker, maybe it's a professional psychologist. When the Alaska Airlines MD80 crashed off the coast of CA about 10 years ago, my good friend, a still shooter for a newspaper, was sent out on a boat to cover the rescue efforts. As they came upon some debris, the rescuer went to grab it, and as it turned over, they found half a body still buckled into the seat. He knew I was a PTSD counselor, called me at 2am when they got back to shore, and cried for an hour. We have a great jovial, good natured-teasing relationship, but it's never been brought up since.
Personally, I like to leave work at work. In my paramedic days, I accomplished this by never wearing my uniform or boots to or from work. For me, this was the way to mentally create a divide between work and home. Same goes for TV news. I don't own a video camera, I don't do any editing at home, and I try to do my other hobbies away from work as much as possible.
Have personal escapes, leave work at work, don't be afraid to talk to someone and don't be embarrassed at how you feel.
For the longest time I felt guilty because I was haunted by the things I saw. I thought, "Since other TV pros don't allow it to bother them, neither should I."That just proves you are a real human being and not a robot.
Whats embarrassing about it?Almost embarrassing considering police, fire, paramedics and hospital staff see much worse.
I'm in the same position myself... For the longest time I felt ridiculous for struggling with what I've seen... I compared myself to police officers, firefighters, medics, and soldiers... But one day I was talking with a friend of mine who's a Marine... He fought in Fallujah, so he's seen some pretty rough stuff. But instead of patronizing me, he validated how I felt... For a marine to say that meant a lot to me, and I haven't allowed myself to feel guilty for the trauma that I have experienced from witnessing other people's trauma...Whats embarrassing about it?
The beauty is that you recognise that it affects you, but the best thing is that you are doing something positive about it.
Dont be embarrassed. Stand up and be proud, because it takes a real bloke to say what you have said.
Thanks for the info. I had never heard of DART before. I just sent the following to them-If anyone is interested, the DART Center for Journalism and Trauma is holding a webinar next week: Trauma Awareness: What Every Journalist Needs to Know.
More info can be found on their website.